STS-57 launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 21, 1993. The primary objective of this flight was the retrieval of the European Retrievable Carrier satellite (EURECA) using the RMS. Additionally, this mission featured the first flight of Spacehab, a commercially-provided middeck augmentation module for the conduct of microgravity experiments. Spacehab carried 22 individual flight experiments in materials and life sciences research. During the mission Wisoff conducted a 5-hour, 50-minute spacewalk during which the EURECA communications antennas were manually positioned for latching, and various extravehicular activity tools and techniques were evaluated for use on future missions. Space Shuttle Endeavour landed at the Kennedy Space Center on July 1, 1993, after 155 orbits of the Earth in 239 hours and 45 minutes.
STS-68, Space Radar Lab-2 (SRL-2), launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on September 30, 1994. As part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth, SRL-2 was the second flight of three advanced radars called SIR-C/X-SAR (Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar), and a carbon-monoxide pollution sensor, MAPS (Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites). SIR-C/X-SAR and MAPS operated together in Endeavour's cargo bay to study Earth's surface and atmosphere, creating radar images of Earth's surface environment and mapping global production and transport of carbon monoxide pollution. Real-time crew observations of environmental conditions, along with over 14,000 photographs aided the science team in interpreting the SRL data. The SRL-2 mission was a highly successful test of technology intended for long-term environmental and geological monitoring of planet Earth. Following 183 orbits of the Earth, the eleven-day mission ended with Space Shuttle Endeavour landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on October 11, 1994. Mission duration was 269 hours and 46 minutes.
STS-81 (January 12-22, 1997) was a ten-day mission, the fifth to dock with Russia's Space Station Mir, and the second to exchange U.S. astronauts. The mission also carried the Spacehab double module providing additional middeck locker space for secondary experiments. In five days of docked operations more than three tons of food, water, experiment equipment and samples were moved back and forth between the two spacecraft. Following 160 orbits of the Earth the STS-81 mission concluded with a landing on Kennedy Space Center's Runway 33 ending a 3.9 million mile journey. Mission duration was 244 hours, 55 minutes.
Manned six crew. Carried Spacehab 1; retrieved Eureca-1 spacecraft. Payloads: Spacehab 01, retrieval of European Retriev-able Carrier (EURECA) Satellite, Superfluid Helium On-Orbit Transfer (SHOOT), Consortium for Materials Development in Space Complex Autonomous Payload (CONCAP)-IV, Fluid Acquisition and Resupply Experiment (FARE), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II, Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS), GAS bridge assembly with 12 getaway special payloads.
Latched Eureca antenna. Conducted tests to refine procedures for servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope and construction of the International Space Station
Carried SIR-C SAR. Landed at Edwards Air Force Base on October 11. Payloads: Space Radar Laboratory (SRL) 2, five Getaway Special payloads, Chromosome and Plant Cell Division in Space (CHROMEX) 5, Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) 01, Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM), Military Application of Ship Tracks (MAST), Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG).
After a night launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, the Shuttle docked with Mir at 03:55 GMT on January 14. STS-81 transferred 2,715 kg of equipment to and from the Mir, the largest transfer of items to that date. During the docked phase, 640 kg of water, 515 kg of U.S. science equipment, 1,000 kg of Russian logistics, and 120 kg of miscellaneous material were transferred to Mir. Returned to Earth aboard Atlantis were 570 kg of U.S. science material, 405 kg of Russian logistics and 98 kg of miscellaneous material. At 02:16 GMT January 19, Atlantis separated from Mir after picking up John Blaha, who had arrived aboard STS-79 on September 19, 1996, and dropping off Jerry Linenger, who was to stay aboard Mir for over four months. The Shuttle backed off along the -RBAR (i.e. toward the Earth) to a distance of 140 m before beginning a flyaround at 02:31 GMT. Most of the flyaround was at a distance from Mir of 170 m. The first 'orbit' around Mir was complete at 03:15, and the second was completed at 04:02 GMT. Then the Orbiter fired its jets to drift away from the orbit of Mir. NASA's first Shuttle mission of 1997 came to a close with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center at 14:22 GMT on January 22 (after the first opportunity was waved off due to cloud cover at the Cape).
STS-92 was a space station assembly flight to bring the Z-1 Truss (mounted on a Spacelab pallet), Control Moment Gyros, Pressurised Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) and two DDCU (Heat pipes) to the International Space Station.
The RSRM-76 solid rocket boosters separated at 23:19 GMT and main engine cut-off (MECO) came at 23:25 GMT. External tank ET-104 separated into a 74 x 323 km x 51.6 deg orbit. At apogee at 00:01 GMT on Oct 12, Discovery's OMS engines fired to raise perigee to a 158 x 322 km x 51.6 deg orbit; ET-104 re-entered over the Pacific around 00:30 GMT. At Oct 12 on 03:01 GMT the NC1 burn raised the orbit to 180 x 349 km; NC3 on Oct 12 to 311 x 375 km; and the TI burn at 14:09 GMT on Oct 13 to 375 x 381 km x 51.6 deg. Discovery's rendezvous with the International Space Station came at 15:39 GMT on Oct 13, with docking at 17:45 GMT. The spaceship docked with PMA-2, the docking port on the +Y port of the Space Station's Unity module. Hatch was open to PMA-2 at 20:30 GMT the same day.
STS-92 Cargo Manifest
Total payload bay cargo: ca. 14,800 kg
The Z1 first segment of the space station truss was built by Boeing/Canoga Park and was 3.5 x 4.5 meters in size. It was attached to the +Z port on Unity. Z1 carried the control moment gyros, the S-band antenna, and the Ku-band antenna.
PMA-3, built by Boeing/Huntington Beach, was docked to the -Z port opposite Z1. PMA-3 was installed on a Spacelab pallet for launch.
On October 14 at 16:15 GMT the Z1 segment was unberthed from the payload bay and at around 18:20 GMT it was docked to the zenith port on the Unity module.
On October 15 at 14:20 GMT the ODS airlock was depressurised, beginning a spacewalk by Bill McArthur and Leroy Chiao. Official NASA EVA duration (battery power to repress) was 6 hours 28 minutes.
The second spacewalk was on October 16, with Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria. The suits went to battery power at 14:15 GMT and Wisoff left the airlock at 14:21 GMT. Repressurisation began at 21:22 GMT for a duration of 7 hours 07minutes.
Leroy Chiao and Bill McArthur began the third STS-92 EVA at 15:30 GMT on October 17, completing their work at 22:18 GMT for a total time of 6 hours 48 minutes.
After the spacewalk, Discovery completed the second of the three station reboosts scheduled for STS-92. They fired reaction control system jets in a series of pulses of 1.4 seconds each, over a 30-minute period, gently raising the station's orbit by about 3.1 km.
The last of four successful spacewalks began on 18 October at 16:00 GMT and ended at 22:56 GMT, lasting 6 hours and 56 minutes. Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria each jetted slowly through space above Discovery's cargo bay.
After the space walk, Discovery completed the third and final reboost of the space station.
On 19 October the astronauts worked within the ISS. They completed connections for the newly installed Z1 external framework structure and transferred equipment and supplies for the Expedition One first resident crew of the Station. The crew also tested the four 290-kg gyroscopes in the truss, called Control Moment Gyros, which will be used to orient the ISS as it orbits the Earth. They will ultimately assume attitude control of the ISS following the arrival of the U.S. Laboratory Destiny. The tests and the transfer of supplies into the Russian Zarya Module took longer than expected. As a result, the crew's final departure from the Station's Unity module was delayed. Melroy and Wisoff took samples from surfaces in Zarya to study the module's environment. They then unclogged the solid waste disposal system in the Shuttle's toilet, which was restored to full operation after a brief interruption in service.
Discovery undocked from the ISS at 16:08 GMT on 20 October. The final separation burn was executed about 45 minutes after undocking. The crew had added 9 tonnes to the station's mass, bringing it to about 72 tonnes. The return to earth, planned for 22 October, was delayed repeatedly due to high winds at the Kennedy landing site. The landing was finally made at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on October 24, at 22:00 GMT.
Wakata aboard the shuttle used the RMS arm to unberth the PMA-3 docking unit from the SLP pallet at 16:14 GMT, and docked it to Unity at 17:40 GMT. Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria first unbolted PMA-3 from the SLP and then guided Wakata through the delicate alignment process as PMA-3 was removed from the bay and attached to the Station.
Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria each jetted slowly through space above Discovery's cargo bay, demonstrating the small rescue nitrogen powered SAFER backpack (Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue). This would be used in the future to help a drifting astronaut regain the safety of the spacecraft. Each astronaut performed one 15 meter flight with the SAFER while attached to the shuttle with a long tether. Lopez-Alegria and Wisoff, with Koichi Wakata operating the arm, also completed a series of wrap-up tasks during the EVA. They removed a grapple fixture from the Z1 truss, opened and closed a latch assembly that will hold the solar array truss when it arrives, deployed a tray that will be used to provide power to the U.S. Laboratory Destiny, and tested the manual berthing mechanism latches that will support Destiny. Wisoff opened and closed the latches on the capture assembly for the P6 solar arrays using a pistol grip tool. With it he made more than 125 turns to open the latches, then closed and reopened them. He left the capture latch, called 'the claw,' ready to receive the solar arrays, to be installed by the STS-97 crew. An exercise to test techniques for returning an incapacitated astronaut to the air lock was cancelled because of time constraints.